Designing Customer Survey

Posted on Feb 16, 2012 by Michael Herman | Posted in Email Marketing

Designing Customer Surveys

It’s easy to be so engrossed in crafting new messages for your email marketing campaign that you completely forget the importance of allowing customers to have their say. Your profits may well be down or up and it could be a complete mystery unless you stop typing and start listening. After all, how are you supposed to know what’s right or wrong about your product/service/business unless a customer tells you? Without the consumer, there is no business so start considering the prospect of creating customer surveys to find out what the public really think of your company.

Planning The Survey

You’re used to painstakingly creating email marketing messages so taking the time to carefully plan and execute your survey should be no problem at all. You may have 100 questions that you would like to ask your customers but it’s best to keep it to 20 or thereabouts because most people’s attention tends to wander after this point. If you issue a survey that takes half an hour to finish or threatens to do so, very few people will bother completing it. Begin by explaining the purpose of the survey and the benefits. Perhaps you can offer potential prizes to those who complete the form. Many companies issue discounts which are awarded to a certain number of people.

Don’t Annoy The Customer!

Have a few gentle introductory questions and don’t go fishing for personal details straight away. It’s also important to ask one question at a time and not confuse the issue by posing multiple queries in a single sentence. This has a habit of irritating and confusing the respondent which will see the survey left incomplete. Assuming you are allowing multiple choice questions, please ensure that you have exhaustive answers that cover all bases without overlapping one another. When two or more answers appear to be virtually the same, this is an example of a poorly designed customer survey.

You must always use neutral language in the surveys to ensure that you don’t come across as biased. The questions must be posed in such a way that your preferred answer is not apparent. Essentially, you have to think carefully about the questions you ask and the order they appear in as well as offering all-encompassing choices. The purpose of customer surveys is to learn more about your company through the consumer as well as knowing more about potential customer’s preferences. Hopefully, the information you

Avoiding Spam Filters

Posted on Feb 16, 2012 by Michael Herman | Posted in Email Deliverability, Email Marketing

Avoiding Spam Filters

When email marketing, you have to be careful not to get your message tossed into the junk folder. The amount of computer viruses and scams that take place online means that people who receive emails are wary. The CAN-SPAM Act became law in 2003 and had a number of revisions added in 2008. The Act is designed to fight against spam, viruses, pornography and other internet problems. Also, email servers have become more vigilant and have added virus and spam filters which block out unwanted emails. Some of these filters are so powerful that even legitimate emails can be blocked. Clearly, this would be a disaster to your email marketing campaign, so what can you do?

Filtering

Once upon a time, getting your email opened was the single most important thing in email marketing. In the modern era, getting your email delivered is even more vital. No longer can you assume that everyone on your mailing list will receive the message you send. The filters in email programs enable people to add emails which contain certain words to their junk mail list. It’s also possible to create a blacklist which blocks emails from certain senders. You need to be aware of this if you’re planning an aggressive email marketing campaign. Too aggressive and you will be blocked forever.

They’re Only Words?

When you’re creating emails, you have to avoid the use of certain words. Obvious words and phrases such as ‘Free’, ‘Winner’, ‘Investment’, ‘Sale’ and ‘Cash Bonus’ should not be used. Most email programs will filter out messages with these words. In actual fact, there are hundreds of words and phrases that should be avoided to guarantee that your email passes spam filters. Terms like ‘big bucks’, ‘get paid’ and ‘call now’ may see your message blocked by filters. You should also avoid the use of $ signs, exclamation points and words that are all capital letters. Failure to do this will see your messages go to the email equivalent of purgatory and never get opened. You can use symbols between words to beat the filters. For example, say ‘ca^sh’ instead of ‘cash’.

If you’re worried about the email you’re sending, there are dozens of content checkers online which will tell you if the email will potentially be blocked by spam filters. It should be noted that there is no program online that is 100% accurate. Most of them only check emails against the filtering rules of certain spam filters. This is why you should leave out a word or phrase if you aren’t sure of its validity.

The Importance Of The Subject Line

Posted on Feb 16, 2012 by Michael Herman | Posted in Email Marketing

The Importance Of The Subject Line

What do you think is the most important part of email marketing? Some people still believe that using certain keywords is essential. Why? You’re sending someone an email, not trying to get seen on search engines! Keywords are irrelevant because the email is being sent to thousands of people. This doesn’t mean it will be seen however and having compelling content is not nearly enough. The vast majority of emails sent by customers to prospects never get opened because the subject line isn’t compelling enough

Make Them Curious

People are exposed to thousands of adverts per day. Whenever they receive an email, they immediately look at the subject line. If it contains a generic phrase it will be discarded. If it appears to be some sort of advert, it will be binned. You need to create emails which have subject lines that arouse curiosity. Some great subject lines that have been used successfully by companies include ‘You got me worried’ and ‘Are the rumors about you true?’ because they seem personal and have made you want to see what’s inside.

Don’t Follow The Herd

Certain companies who attempt email marketing campaigns go overboard when it comes to personalization and start to use the recipient’s name in the subject line. While ‘Hello John’ may have worked at one time, so many companies are now using this device that it is deemed to be generic and is immediately deleted. When crafting a compelling subject line, remember that there is a CAN-SPAM Act which prevents companies from using deceptive practices in a bid to get the recipient to open the email. Therefore, you can’t use a subject line which is completely different to the contents of the email or else you will violate the principle of being non-deceptive.

Join The Dots

As we have already mentioned, it’s vital that you avoid making your email look like an advert. This includes the subject line which must be devoid of phrases such as ‘profit’, ‘free’, ‘sale’, ‘buy’, ‘discount’ or similar terms which give off the scent of commerce. Include any of these terms in your subject line and you can be sure that the recipient will delete the email without opening it. One of the best devices to use in a subject line is an incomplete thought. The human brain hates an incomplete puzzle and is desperate for information that helps it close the topic. Only by opening the email can the brain rest.

Don’t worry about what to put in the email until the subject line has been sorted out. Once it is and an interesting title has been found, you’ll have completed the most difficult part of email marketing which is to get the prospect to open the email and start reading.

What To Look For In An Email Marketing Company

Posted on Feb 16, 2012 by Michael Herman | Posted in Email Marketing

What To Look For In An Email Marketing Company

Companies who know which avenues they need to take in order to be a success are well aware of what email marketing can do for them.  Virtually every company that has been asked about email marketing say that it’s an excellent form of advertising. A recent survey published by Econsultancy showed that almost 75% of businesses consider email marketing to be second behind SEO in terms of return on investment. Almost half of the companies in the survey suggested that email marketing was their number one advertising tool with around two-thirds of companies stating that an increase in email marketing was on the cards in 2012.

Right Choice

So how does a small business find a suitable email marketing company? Small organizations don’t have the room for error that their larger counterparts have which means that they must choose the right provider first time around. Avoid signing lengthy contracts with any agency. If they can’t give you what you need, a contract will tie you to their unsuitable services. By the time the contract ends, your company could more or less be finished. Note the difference between money back guarantees and free trials. If there is a free trial available, take it but be aware of catches. Money back guarantees carry stipulations so be wary before signing any contracts.

Expense

Don’t make the mistake of thinking that ‘high-end’ (read expensive) email marketing companies offer you the same level of service. Expect there to be a tremendous difference in the features offered by each company. It’s not unusual for one company to have automation while another lacks this seemingly commonplace feature for example. Therefore, the onus is on you to check the services provided by each company. Go through them with a fine-tooth comb leaving nothing to chance. Only settle for a company that can give you precisely what you need. Don’t accept less than the best available on your budget because your entire business may rise and fall on the email marketing services provided by a company.

The number of subscribers you have dictates the cost. It’s not unusual for an email marketing company to charge $15 a month for businesses with less than 500 contacts while charging more than $100 a month for companies with over 20,000 contacts. Large companies will think nothing of spending $1,000+ on email marketing, small businesses may have to think twice. Also, be sure to read as many reviews pertaining to the email marketing companies y

Have You Forgotten About Email Marketing?

Posted on Feb 16, 2012 by Michael Herman | Posted in Email Marketing

Have You Forgotten About Email Marketing?

A mistake most companies make when the time comes to launch a product or service online is to rely mainly on SEO content writing as their main plan of attack. While SEO content is vital, missing out on the power of email marketing really is criminal. It is a form of marketing that can reach more customers than any other, is inexpensive and when done correctly, will see your profit margin dramatically rise.

Customer Retention

One of the best things about email marketing is its ability to help you keep existing customers. SEO content writing helps you get the customers while email marketing enables you to keep them. According to industry statistics, it can cost 400% more to market to new customers than old ones. Your regulars know your company and use up less of your customer service time. They are also familiar with your product, know what they want and tend to purchase more than new customers. Therefore, it makes sense to market to those you know before targeting a new audience. With old customers, all you need to do is provide them with updates on new products as well as offering the occasional incentive.

Be Personal

Did you know that almost one trillion emails are sent per day and that more than 50% of email users check their email at least four times a day? Email marketing gives you a greater opportunity than any other form of advertising. One problem is the number of spam each email user endures. As a result, your email should sound like it speaks directly to one person. This doesn’t mean that you must spend all your waking hours typing individual emails to each person, it just means that you avoid sending generic emails that scream out ‘SPAM’! Remember, modern internet users define spam as unwanted email. In days gone by, spam was seen as unsolicited email.

Remember Your Purpose

Email marketing is nothing like writing web content. There are active spam filters and you need to avoid making your emails sound like adverts even though their sole purpose is to generate sales. To get your email opened, you need a great subject line which arouses interest. To keep them reading, the content must be concise and to the point because people don’t have time to read verbose emails. No matter how flowery your prose is, if you don’t make sales, the entire email marketing campaign has been a failure.

How Bars And Breweries Should Use Email Marketing

Posted on Feb 15, 2012 by Michael Herman | Posted in Email Marketing

How Bars And Breweries Should Use Email Marketing

Anyone who runs a brewery or a bar knows that keeping customers is becoming increasingly difficult. The era of the ‘regular’ in bars is coming to an end as customers seek the newest and most chic places to socialize. From the point of view of the brewer, it can seem like an impossible task to take on rivals who have larger distribution channels and a greater marketing budget. However, email marketing is the great equalizer. Once you know how to use email efficiently, you will be able to take customers from breweries and bars many times larger than yours.

Email Advantages

The main advantage of email marketing is of course the fact that it is extremely inexpensive. However, its main weapon is its ability to speak to a specific audience, something that more traditional forms of marketing can’t do. It enables brewers and bars to speak to a local audience as well as delivering the highest return on investment of any form of online marketing. The data generated by email marketing also allows you to make important changes to cater to your target audience.

Getting Email Addresses

The first step is to get customer details. This is surprisingly easy. A great idea is to set up a business card collection box in a visible area (the counter for example). Use an incentive such as a discount or prize to get people to fill in the cards you supply. On your website, you should also have a competition or a poll which will help you gather yet more email addresses. This is a simple way to build up a formidable subscriber list.

Now that consumers have willingly given you their email addresses, you can start that email marketing campaign. There are a huge number of services which can help you email thousands of customers for just a few dollars a month. The best services also have analytic(s) which provide you with statistics relating to the response rate of the email recipients. This data is analyzed and you alter the campaign’s emails if necessary.

Make It Count

The first rule of email marketing is to always show the recipient that there is value in opening the emails. Most people receive hundreds of emails a week so yours needs to stand out in order to be taken seriously. Whenever possible, mention special offers, discounts and other promotions to keep them interested. However, you should also make an effort to send emails that just contain items that you know will be shared such as a link to funny photos or hilarious alcohol-related stories. Always make sure these photos are tagged with your company’s name.

Once you have a customer’s email, it’s your duty to treat them properly. Don’t test their patience by sending emails every day. Only email them when you have something interesting to say. Show respect for their time and they may reward you with future business.

What Should Be Included In A Restaurant’s Email Marketing Campaign

Posted on Feb 15, 2012 by Michael Herman | Posted in Email Marketing

What Should Be Included In A Restaurant’s Email Marketing Campaign

Presumably you have subscriber’s lists set up and are informing them about changes to the menu, coupons and special events. Your email marketing campaign appears to be working as customers are responding and there are new subscribers each week. Is it time to rest on your laurels? Only if you want your upturn in fortunes to dissipate. No email marketing campaign is perfect so you need to continue taking a closer look and adding things that may be missing.

Add Menus

One of the biggest mistakes made by restaurants is not having their menus listed online. If someone hasn’t been to your establishment before, you need to add a menu filled with descriptions of your food that will send their taste buds tingling. You may even persuade regular customers to try something new. If you have been too busy or can’t seem to be able to track down your “web-guy” and need to get your menu online in the meantime, you can place your menu on sites like www.thegrubclub.com for free. It’s also a great idea to include professional pictures of your food in emails just to tempt the reader further.

Why Should I Visit?

You need to provide incentives to customers and give them a reason to continue subscribing. The most obvious way of doing this is by offering discounts exclusively to your subscribers. It doesn’t have to be a substantial amount but it does need to be large enough to force customers to take you up on the offer. Perhaps you could offer $10 off purchases over $40 or a free bottle of wine with a main course. Also, if you sell gift cards, be sure to mention this to your subscribers. Gift cards make excellent quick gifts but most people forget to ask for them when they’re out because the (hopefully) amazing dining experience distracts them.

It’s also extremely important that you mention your opening hours on the emails. This is especially relevant for restaurants that lack a website. A startling number of restaurants fail to add this little bit of information and as a result, lose customers who turn up on a Monday only to find the place closed. And while you’re in the business of providing information, ensure that clear directions are available for customers. Why would they bother visiting your business if they have to look long and hard for it?

There is a lot more to email marketing for your restaurant than telling everyone how great your food is. You need to show that your business is superior to all others. Make things as easy as possible for customers and they will show up in their droves, provided your food and service is up to standard of course!

New Import/Export Process

Posted on Feb 15, 2012 by Michael Herman | Posted in SYSTEM UPDATES

Hello All-

We have implemented a new import/export process. Now instead of you having to wait for your list to import with the progress bar, your list is sent to a job queue that processes the upload directly on the server.

This allows for a much faster handling of your lists! Once you select your list to be imported or exported, you are then taken to a page where you can View Scheduled Import/Export Queue.  Once there you will see your job queue.

You can then “View Your Results” for imported lists which will give you a report like this:

The contact import has been completed successfully

122 contacts were imported successfully

0 contacts were updated successfully

1 duplicates

0 contacts are unsubscribed

0 contacts are suppressed from joining this contact list

1 contact contains bad data

0 contacts were not imported successfully

Or if you are exporting, there will be an option to ‘Download.’

Another benefit of the new import/export process is that you can now schedule multiple jobs at once in the same browser. In other words, you can import as many lists as you like at one time without have to wait for each list to complete or opening a new browser to start a new import job.

Hope you like it!

Real Time Features in Facebook

Posted on Jun 23, 2011 by Michael Herman | Posted in Social Media

Facebook has been testing a new feature for News Feeds that gives the user the ability to view likes, comments and things their friends are sharing in real time.

Real time? Oh yes, real time. Now, few of you might have used TweetDeck when they implemented their “real time” ability. I saw quite a few tweets comparing it to #twittercrack. And now with Facebook looking to roll their version out, I can only imagine the impact it will have on users productivity.

But Facebook is already a master at stealing away productivity; the real problem with this new feature is that it kills off the ad space on the right hand side of the home page. Facebook recently reported that in 2010, their ad revenue was at $1.86B. Staggering yes, so why would they kill off some prime ad real estate? It’s unclear.

Again, these screenshots are still in testing phase but I find it hard to believe that they would bite the bullet on the ad revenue. I expect that if Facebook widely implements this feature, there will be some layout adjustments to still accommodate the ads.

5 Reasons to Use an Email Service Provider (ESP)

Posted on Mar 4, 2011 by Michael Herman | Posted in Email Marketing

Email marketing has been around for over ten years now, but with all the changing technology available, there are many new techniques and strategies you can apply to email in order to achieve an even higher ROI and conversion rate than was attainable in the past! In fact, one of the MOST important things you can do for your email marketing campaign is to invest in an ESP, or email marketing service provider.  Even if your email list is small, start out with a reliable ESP so once your list grows to a few hundred or more recipients, you’ll have the technology already in place to automatically handle subscribes, bounces, and deliverability issues!

Here are a quick list of reasons you should be using an ESP instead of a regular email client such as Outlook.

1. List Management: Make it easy for yourself and others to subscribe to your list!  With ESP’s you can automatically have new contacts added through your website, Facebook page, and more!  As you are growing your list quickly, this will be very helpful!

2.  High Deliverability: Your email client is not meant to sent out bulk emails to contacts and your messages may end up labeled as spam by ISPs, not even arriving into your recipients’ spam folders, much less their inboxes.  ESPs are approved by ISPd as a legitimate, CAN SPAM compliant, permission-based email delivery service.

3.  Ability to Create and Send HTML Messages: Most ESPs include several well-designed HTML templates for you to customize and use for your email campaigns.  Save these templates to use over and over again so all of your messages are consistent!

4.  Segmented Lists and Personalization Features: Target those individuals on your list with messages that are most relevant to them.  This increases your click-thru and conversion rates – therefore increasing your ROI!  With ESPs you can easily insert your recipients’ name, company name, past purchase history and other information directly into the message or subject line!

5.  Automatic CAN SPAM Compliance:  ESPs make CAN SPAM compliance easy by automatically inserting your physical address and unsubscribe information in the footer of the email, as well as automatically removing unsubscribes immediately so that you are in compliance with the 10 day rule!

There are so many other features that make an ESP your top choice for your email marketing!  Give us a call and we can review more with you!

Page 15 of 21« First...10...1314151617...20...Last »